A Moment In Time

img_7674

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve last sat down to write. However, with all that I have accomplished, both socially outside of the home and organizationally inside the home, I suppose I’m not that surprised. (Though the realization is somewhat bittersweet.)

I have been in official nesting mode for weeks now which has been both therapeutic and distracting, Jackson started preschool + soccer, and daddy is finally starting to mentally prepare for baby #2 while in the midst of checking-off his daddy-to-do-list. Needless to say, we have been extremely busy with lots of changes (which is emotionally draining in and of itself) and to top it off I have also been busy with work (something I’m not used to anymore!). So when my girlfriend suggested Jackson and I get our photos taken, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to slow things down a bit and embrace this moment in time.

It’s not something I would have thought to do myself (but now wish I would have done it when I was pregnant with Jackson too), and I will forever be grateful for the idea and inspiration. (Thanks Beth!)

Here are a few snapshots that were captured in one of the most precious moments of my life. xo

img_7671img_7632

img_7642

img_7653

Photos taken by Picture People.

Three’s Company

IMG_1272Even though I’m convinced these last six weeks of pregnancy will miserably drag on, I plan to do my best to stay positive while celebrating our last days with my little family of three. I don’t have anything specifically planned (my energy + comfort level is less than to be desired), but I want to make sure Jackson knows just how special he is as our first born child and how amazing life has been with him in it.

This summer has been extremely busy with travel plans that took us all over the country in different places at the same time. A part of me worried Jackson felt like he was being “shipped off” now that his baby sister is nearing her arrival, especially since a lot of my focus + attention is centered around being pregnant, but I think hope he understands why I can no longer do many of the fun things he is used to and that he will never be replaced by anyone, ever.

But the truth is, I’m not sure I even understand. I have loved being the mother of one child. I have grown used to the simplicity of one child who is now old enough to walk and leave the stroller in the car, go to the bathroom my himself, play independently, climb the jungle gym without me hovering over him, etc. etc. Life has been, well, easy. In many ways I feel I have been spoiled, specifically when it comes to being able to give all of my love and affection to him. However, in a few short weeks, I will have to learn how to divide my time and attention to both my children (plus my husband) in hopes that feelings don’t get hurt and everyone gets what they need (me included).
I’m not worried about not having enough love to go around, but rather making sure I balance the love appropriately.

This weekend is Labor Day - a day to spend with those you love while squeezing in favorite end of summer activities - yet we have nothing planned. I’m hoping the weather won’t be too blistering hot so we can enjoy an afternoon at the beach + a BBQ with friends. If the weather is too much for us (me) to bear, maybe we’ll hit up a hotel swimming pool or a matinee where we can all feel like kids again. However, whatever the weekend brings, my main goal is take the time to embrace what life is like with just the three of us.

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday weekend with those you love. xo

IMG_1273

Are We There Yet?

IMG_6343 {A selfie I took last night in the car. Seemed appropriate.}

I don’t exactly remember feeling like a child in the backseat of my parents car on a never-ending-road-trip when I was pregnant with Jackson, but this time around I have found myself asking Are We There Yet? while counting down the miles until this baby is born.

Granted, the past 7+ months have flown by due to an extremely busy spring and summer calendar, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful. However, the past few weeks I have become more tired, more uncomfortable, and much much more impatient. Braxton Hicks are in full force and I’m beginning to feel a little claustrophobic with little room left in this Coup De Ville.

I still have one more trip planned (thankfully NOT a road trip!) before I am no longer able to travel, leaving me with mixed emotions I can’t yet pinpoint, like scenery outside the window disguising my current location with few clues as to where I’m going or where I’ve been.

Are we there yet? How much further? Is there a rest stop nearby where I can get some instant relief? WHERE AM I?

Perhaps I’m making this all sound a bit dramatic. Perhaps. But on these days where I feel like I could sleep forever or when my uterus feels like a Pinata that could pop with one swift swing, I am reminded just how much work it actually takes to make a baby (which is pretty amazing) and I try to give myself a little bit of a break and allow myself moments here and there to whine and complain.

 

Through My Eyes Only

IMG_6319It feels like I have been so disconnected lately, yet in many ways I feel more alive than ever. It’s funny (and perhaps, sad) how social media brain-washes the relevance of our own lives if we let it. There were a few times over the past month where I thought to myself, I need to post this on Facebook! and then immediately (and proudly) decided against it. I guess I just wanted to live in the moment privately, to allow myself to remember what that felt like, to feel anonymous once again - and in doing so it has energized me in an almost unexplainable way.

Between an amazing + much needed girl’s vacation with my soul sisters (minus one), Jackson spending alone time with his grandparents (one week in Iowa and this past week in southern Illinois), and my plunging back into the Real Estate market, my plate has been reminiscent of what life must have been like when I was pregnant the first time around. Getting laundry done wasn’t as crucial, the refrigerator not always full = our favorite take-out on speed dial, evenings with both of us hammering away on our laptops before deciding to take off for a late-night movie spur of the moment. But the most notable this past week has been that powerful feeling of being back in the work place. I’ve been recharged in a way that has been so foreign the past three years, yet still so familiar to my soul (like one of those friendships where you can just pick up where you left off no matter how much time has passed) that I have found myself contemplating going back to work full-time.

However, with all of that said, there is this huge part of me that has been aching since Sunday. If you are a parent, you know what part I’m referring to. If you are not a parent, imagine missing one of your limbs or vital organs that you need to stay breathing and alive. (Yes, it’s that dramatic.) The house seems too quiet and empty. I feel lost not cooking every night (though I’m not complaining!) and though I have been busy with work, I have also had a plethora of time to sit around confused as to what I should do with my time. (I can hear all of you parents saying, Oh what I would do for free time! and so neither one of us are not mistaken, please know I have taken advantage and have done every one of those things!) However, it’s just not as rewarding as what I thought it would be.

We are all familiar with the cliche The grass is greener on the other side. A phrase that kept popping in my head this past week. What I’ve realized though is that yes, sometimes it is greener, but when your eyes are so familiar to the side you are on, there is no better place to call home.

I’m most positive that I will not be going back to work full-time (baby #2 is expected in less than 10 weeks!) and though I hope to still dabble in work here and there, my number one priority is to spend as much quality time with Jackson as possible because before any of us know it our entire universe is about to change…and I’ll be back to needing social media to make me feel alive and validated once again.

Just Us (Me)

IMG_2413

{Self snap-shot I sent to Jackson while shopping for lamps + basket organizers.}

It’s amazing how much time you have to yourself without kids and no job. This past week Jackson was in Iowa with my parents, leaving Travis and I to our own desires. However, I quickly learned that having all the time in the world translates into meandering about unsure of what to do next, which in turn meant a lot of wasted time in places like Target and Wicker Park.

With that said, this past week was overall equal parts relaxing and productive. We got the kid’s room rearranged, closets organized, and the downstairs living area reconfigured. My husband also informed me that I didn’t have to cook dinners this week which meant 4 date nights, two movies (one in the theater), lunches with friends, strolls through shops I never get to, and afternoon siestas on the roof top deck.

Tonight I leave for a girl’s trip and Monday I bring our Monkey Bear home…and I can’t wait. Don’t get me wrong, all of this me time has been amazing, reminding me what my life must have been like pre Jackson. But the reality is, I’m not just a single girl anymore. I am a mommy, which means there is an entire part of myself that has been missing for the past 4 days and without him I’m just not complete. I may be a lot less stressed, more patient, relaxed, and carefree, but I am without a doubt not myself without my son…and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Here are just a few snapshots of my week. I wish you all a wonderful weekend with either those you love or just time loving yourself. x

IMG_6172

{Glazed Doughnuts in Wicker Park - a great afternoon pick-me-up}

IMG_6159

{Quiet time reading on my front porch}IMG_6175

{Appetizers at Estrella Negra in Logan Square}IMG_6169

{An antique store I’ve always wanted to stop in and finally had the time.}

 

The Eve of Change

IMG_1528

I’ve never thought of myself as a person who doesn’t like change. However, the older I get the more comfortable I become with how things are right now, especially when it comes to Jackson’s bedroom. Today my parents arrive to help with setting-up Jackson & Baby Girl’s soon-to-be shared room. Even though I’ve decided to keep the couch (something I have been lamenting over the past six months when I thought I had to get rid of it), and even though we are all beyond excited to welcome our little girl into our world in October, there is a part of me that is a little sad about this new change.

I suppose it’s because it means Jackson will soon be in a twin loft-bed and no longer in his toddler bed - his first official step out of toddlerhood. Or perhaps because it means my love & attention will soon be divided between two children, and though I know it doubles the moment she is born to ensure there is enough for all, Jackson has been my world for the past 3 1/2 years and it’s hard to imagine another little person in it.

I think a part of it also has to do with my overwhelming realization that I’m really a parent. Not that I haven’t really been a parent with Jackson, but being a mommy of one has been extremely easy in the scheme of things, especially this past year since he has become more independent. However, being a mommy of two puts me smack dab in the parenting pool, in the been-there-done-that category where nothing phases or surprises anymore and new mommies now look to me for parenting advice. Scary. Scary. Scary.

Whatever the case, change is inevitable and I need to put my big-girl-maternity-pants on and deal with it. After all, I am excited to see the transformation (it means I get to start decorating again!) and look forward to Jackson’s excitement when he climbs the ladder to his new bed for the first time (though we aren’t going to convert his toddler bed back to a crib for a while, just in case.) And once our little girl arrives, it will be harder and harder to remember what life was like without her, which will be an even crazier change considering my feelings today. (And then I’ll need to start preparing myself for a house move. Sigh.)

It was nothing fancy, but it was his room…

IMG_1526IMG_1528

More before + after pictures to come. I hope you all enjoy a fun (or productive) weekend. xo

Six Months Stuck

IMG_6035

It always seems no matter how relaxing of a vacation, the week following is tired and slow, especially at 6 months pregnant. Since our return, I have found myself unmotivated to do much of anything. Probably because my mind is still sitting on the dock of our most magical place, or perhaps because I am so overwhelmed with all that is on my baby-girl to-do list that I do nothing instead. Whichever the case, I feel as though I’m stuck in this in-between world where big decisions need to be made, serious organization needs to be accomplished, and a new mind-set on life needs to be cultivated, yet my feet are stuck exactly where they’ve been the past three years. It’s hard to believe I am already in my third trimester (it feels like I just found out I was pregnant, yet my body would tell you otherwise) and though I’m doing my best to soak in these last few months with only one child, I can’t always quiet my anxious mind. So, since tomorrow is already Friday (I’m not too sure what has occupied my time this week) I’ve decided to ride it out until Monday when I hope to start fresh and anew.

Do you usually need a vacation after a vacation too?

We Are Mothers

IMG_1420

This morning as I was sitting silent with my thoughts, I started thinking about the camaraderie between mothers. Jackson was still sleeping but I could hear him stirring over the monitor around the same time I started feeling little flutters + kicks from my baby girl. I don’t know what it was exactly, but this wave of emotion took over me and I don’t think I have ever loved as much as I did in that moment. I soon started to think about all of my mommy-girlfriends, both near and far, including those I am friends with on Facebook but haven’t seen or spoken to since high school. I all of a sudden felt a bond with them (with YOU!) that I have never felt before. I realized that no matter how much time has passed, where we live, or what our walks in life have been, we all have something in common that we will forever cherish. We may disagree on each others ideas of parenting, discipline, sleep training, lifestyles, etc. but we can all agree on how much we love + adore our children and that we only want what is best for them. Being a parent is the hardest job I have ever had, but being a mother is by far the most rewarding. xo

IMG_1417IMG_1415

Happy Father’s, Daddy, and Papa’s Day 2013

This year we were lucky enough to celebrate June 16th with all three of our father’s. It was such a special, yet rare, occasion brought on by my sister-in-law’s wedding (pics to come!) and one that we will never forget and will always cherish. Travis, Jackson, and I are so blessed to have such amazing male role models in our life. All of their special qualities, imperfections, unique personalities, and life lessons are ones that continue to shape us into being the people we can only hope to become.

IMG_1362

IMG_1351

To my father: Thank you for always loving, protecting, and taking care of me. Thank you for teaching me all of life’s hard lessons and for supporting me no matter what or how hard it is for you to watch. You will forever be the man I hold all others against. Also, thank you for being such an amazing grandpa to my son. You are his best friend.

IMG_1360

IMG_1355

To Jackson’s daddy: I knew you were going to be the father of my children when I first met you - thank you for not disappointing! (Ha!) Our son (and daughter-to-come) are two lucky children who will forever look up to you. To Jackson you are the coolest, most talented man who can do and fix anything. I love watching the two of you interact and grow together. You amaze me and I love you.

IMG_1364

To Papa: Thank you for being the best father-in-law a girl could ask for. I love the son you have raised and the family man that you are. Thank you for loving me like your own - it doesn’t go unnoticed.You are the greatest Papa in the world and Jackson’s true pal.

Happy (belated) Father’s Day. I hope you were able to celebrate the day with all of the wonderful men in your lives. xo

Missing Gus

 
IMG_5847

I always knew the conversation about death would soon be upon us, especially after we bought our first pet, Gus the Fish. We bought Gus on a whim back in September of 2011 and he immediately became part of our little family. For all that knew him, he had the biggest personality (I know this makes me sound crazy). However, Gus would get so excited anytime someone came around to pay him a visit, would flap his fins as if he were waving, and was seriously the most playful fish I’ve ever seen. Every morning Jackson would greet him with a big hello and would always remind us we needed to feed him if we had forgotten. Jackson loved to help daddy clean his bowl and hated it when the neighbors would take him while we were out of town. He would cry thinking we were giving him away which made us think even more how hard it was going to be when one day Gus died. We leave town a lot so this reoccurring sadness = my reoccurring fear that Gus wouldn’t make it by the time we returned. Part of me feels Gus died from being homesick, as crazy as that sounds too.

 

It all started when Travis and I were in NYC for the week, Jackson was at my parent’s, and Gus was with our trusty neighbors. We received a call saying that Gus was not looking so well and should he not make it, did we want them to buy a replacement Gus before Jackson returned home? Our answer was No and we just prayed that after a good bowl cleaning he would soon recover. Our neighbor was right, Gus did not look good upon our arrival and wouldn’t eat for days. We were all frustrated, especially Jackson who one day turned to me and said, “Mommy, I think it’s time for a new Gus.” You can imagine my surprise + relief from this comment. It made me start to think that the death conversation of Gus the Fish might not be so bad after all.

Gus continued to go through the dying process through the month of May, hitting a surge for the two weeks in-between our NYC trip and our time downstate over Memorial Day week. However, us being gone didn’t help matters (I really do think he was lonely without us) and a few days after our return, we woke up to find that Gus had finally made his way to Fish Heaven.

It was actually Travis who discovered the loss before he left for work. Jackson and I were still sleeping (of course), so when I checked my phone I saw the text message Travis had left with a picture of Gus in the toilet. Ugh. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle this conversation with Jackson and prayed that I didn’t screw it up and make matters worse. (You have to remember, we’ve had the same fish for almost two years and he really was part of our family.) However, the whole discussion played out better than I could have planned.

Jackson had decided he wanted to play in his room before heading to the kitchen for breakfast and he wanted me to sit in the chair and watch, which gave me time to prepare. When he had decided it was time for his oatmeal I told him I needed to talk to him. Our talk went something like this:

Jackson, you know how Gus has been really sick lately and not eating his food? Yes. Well, this morning when we woke up we saw that Gus had died. I want to see him. Well honey, Gus isn’t here anymore. I want to see. I want to see. (So we headed for Gus’ bowl in the living room only to find Travis had moved it to the kitchen sink to wash it out.)

He then wanted to know where Gus went so I said something like this:

Okay, so you know when we have to get a bug or spider? Yes. What do we do with it? We put it in toilet paper and throw it in the garbage or toilet. (Whew!) Yes, that’s right. Well, when fish die we do the same thing and put them in the toilet so they can float to fish heaven. I want to see! Well, daddy already flushed the toilet but he took a picture (thankfully!) do you want to see it? Yes. He stared at the picture for a moment and then said, “I want Gus back.” I explained that Gus is now in Fish Heaven with Jesus and is no longer sick. We talked about how great of a fish he was, shed a few tears, and then Jackson said, “Okay, it’s time for my oatmeal now.”

Since then, Jackson has stared at his empty fish bowl with sad eyes (see above pic) but insists on keeping it in the same place so we can remember Gus. He said he wants to get a new Gus that’s red, which we plan on getting at the end of summer. However, just yesterday while in the middle of Old Navy looking at kid’s shoes, Jackson tugged on my shirt and said, “Mommy, I miss Gus.” and started to cry. It was the saddest moment that broke my heart. I always wonder what he’s thinking in his quiet moments and yesterday I found out. He was thinking and missing his Gus the Fish.

R.I.P. Gus the Fish. You were truly the best and you will forever be missed. xo